By Elly Rifkin
For countless Chicago clubbers, memories of their favorite nights were inspired by a thrilling opening set from DJ John Patterson. Patterson has deservingly shared a DJ booth with the greatest international talent to hit Chicago, more often than not outperforming the headliner. Also a favorite among his fellow DJs, John’s extensive knowledge of electronic music and impressive technical skills make his sets as thoughtful as they are danceable. Promoters book Patterson knowing that he will inject earnest enthusiasm for techno and house music into his all-vinyl performances on three turntables. William Shakespeare said, “In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility.” Though he may not know it, John Patterson has meant a great deal to the Chicago electronic-music community not only because of his passion for DJing, but also for his exemplary character.
How did you first become interested in electronic music? What made you want to be a DJ?
I first became interested in electronic music while I was in college. I attended a rave called Twisted, which was thrown by Mike Dearborn, a Chicago legend, of Majesty Productions. Sven Vath, Dave Clarke, Joey Beltram, Damon Wild… James Cristian, Derrick Carter and Mike himself were the DJs for the night. I guess I was spoiled for my first true electronic experience. I heard Dave Clarke doubling up Joey Beltram’s “Game Form,” bouncing it back and forth, and from that moment forward techno stole my musical heart.
Describe the best gig you’ve played.
I’ve played so many fun-filled shows where the vibe is thick, it’s hard to choose the best gig I’ve played. I guess if I had to pick one, it would be the show when I opened for Luke Slater at Crobar, which was thrown by Pure and Koncept, who I am affiliated with. During the gig, I had a great time. I was just happy to be opening for Luke Slater, a legend who has put so many groundbreaking records out as himself and the amazing Planetary Assault Systems. The reason I say it was my best gig was because I received so much positive feedback from the crowd that night. The night opened up avenues for me and let my name seep into the Chicago electronic-music scene. When the crowd, who a DJ is there to perform for in the first place, has a great time, you know you’ve done your part for the night.
What is your favorite venue to play at in Chicago? What about outside of Chicago?
I truly don’t have a favorite venue. I enjoy any place that is jumping and the crowd is enthusiastic about the music. No venue is ever the same. It really just depends on the performers that night, the crowd and the party as a whole.
How would you describe the techno scene in Chicago right now?
Unfortunately and sadly, I would not be the person to ask. I wish I was more involved and was more knowledgeable of the techno scene right now, but I don’t get to venture out much, so I miss a lot of the good local artists. What I can say is the love of techno, whether it is dub, minimal, Detroit, Ghetto, Tech-House or whatever your flavor may be, has been well-received here in Chicago. There are so many driven promoters who bring techno music to the masses, along with so many talented DJs and performers in Chicago; techno has but no other reason than to thrive.
You almost exclusively play vinyl records. Do you think you will continue to stick with that format?
I think so. I certainly don’t see myself changing anytime soon. If I played out more often or traveled to shows around the world, I might have a change of heart. Vinyl is what I’m comfortable with, so I see no reason to change.
Do you have any plans to produce music?
I do have plans to produce music. I’ve been working on certain projects at home in my spare time, but it’s the time I have trouble finding. Myself, Sabeo Mederos and Mike Wade actually started the label, Koncept Recordings. It stems from Koncept Promotions, which we are all a part of and is headed by George Moreira. We plan on releasing music in 2008. We had hoped for 2007. Hopefully good things come to those that wait.
If you could do a tag-team set with any DJ in the world, who would it be?
You’ve got me. There are too many to list. It would depend on my mood that particular night. Deetron, Laurent Garnier, Chris Liebing, Charles Siegling and Claude Young are some that I would love to tag with on any given night.
John Patterson joins Wake Up! headliner Plexus and residents Sassmouth & Kate Simko at Sonotheque, 1444 West Chicago, (312)226-7600, on November 15, 10pm-2am. $8.